MASARYKTOWN — Kiwanis Club of the Brooksville Ridge president David Mickelson admits he's proud of the success his club achieved last year in hosting a unique hometown signature event.
In fact, the inaugural Taste of the Fields was an overwhelming success, Mickelson said. The event drew 160 patrons, all of whom feasted on a five-course dinner served outdoors and made almost exclusively from foods grown in or around Hernando County.
The best part, Mickelson said, was that the event raised more than $1,500 for the club's youth programs.
"We were blessed," Mickelson said. "The food was great, and the weather couldn't have been better. A lot of people left with smiles on their faces."
On Saturday, the club will host its second event at Sweetfields Farm near Masaryktown, and Mickelson promises an even better experience.
"You learn a lot from your first event," he said. "We've concentrated on making things flow a little smoother. I think people will be pleased."
The evening will kick off at 6 p.m. with a tour of the organic farming operation and a walk through the farm's giant corn maze. Guests will also be treated to a hayride, live entertainment and samples of local wines.
The event will feature foods prepared by three noted professional chefs from the area: Amy Wilson owner of a Pasco County catering business called Sunflower Cafe; Audrey Costa of Chef Audrey's Fresh Market Cafe in Brooksville, and Kevin Howe of the Palace Grand in Spring Hill. They will be assisted by students from Hernando High School's culinary arts program.
The five-course, family-style meal will be prepared entirely on-site. Featured entrees will include fire-roasted pork chops and grilled chicken breasts. In addition, there will be a vegetarian option.
Showcasing locally grown produce and farm products has become part of the event's charm, Mickelson said.
"It's the perfect opportunity to get the public familiar with the wealth of farms in our community," he said. "We're trying to get the word out that it's not that hard to find quality local produce."
Local growers who have agreed to participate include Sweetfields Farm, Beasley Produce, Frazier Farms and Strong Tower Winery.
Mickelson said the event is for adults only. Attendance will be capped at 200.
Proceeds will go to the Kiwanis Club of the Brooksville Ridge to support youth. The club is sponsoring the dinner, along with the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Hernando Alumni Program.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.